Podiatrist Answers Questions on Foot Pain
By Dr, Jeff Pawlowski
Dr. Jeff Pawlowski, a podiatrist in Mesa, AZ, answers questions about minimizing and healing foot pain.
Q: What is the most common reason a patient comes to see you?
A: Podiatry is the medical and surgical treatment of foot and ankles conditions. To become a podiatrist requires 4 years of college followed by 4 years of podiatric medical college and 1-3 post-graduate training. Most patients call us because they are in pain. There are many conditions causing pain in the foot and ankle. Overuse injuries in athletes, neuropathy from diabetes, sprains and/or fractures from injuries, inflammatory conditions like arthritis, plantar fasciitis, and achilles tendonosis, as well progressive structural conditions (hammertoes, bunions, and flat feet) are just some of the conditions we see and treat.
Q: What is the most common advice you give patients?
A: To work to maintain a healthy weight and BMI (body mass index) through consis- tent exercise, a balanced low sodium, low glycemic (low carb) diet with lean protein, vegetables and 8-10 glasses of water daily. Obesity leads to hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, joint pain (back, knee, foot), and reduced life span. All physicians, regard- less of the their specialty, have a responsibility to try to motivate their patients to get healthier. All healthcare providers have that one on one opportunity to try to get patients to make positive changes in their lives.
Specifically for feet, the most common advice I give patients is to wear shoes that are the right size. It sounds simple, but it’s surprising how many people are wearing shoes that are too small or too narrow. I won’t even mention women’s dress shoes. That’s another issue!
Q: What types of foot pain do you see? What don’t you treat?
A: I see everything from acute pain (due to gout, or injuries) to progressive pain (from ingrown nails, infections, and bunions), to chronic pain (from plantar fasciitis, diabetic neuropathy, and arthritis). There are also people who have a low but constant level of pain due to thickened fungal nails and foot fatigue caused by poor structure and active work/recreational activities. regardless of the type of pain a patient has, we keep in mind that it’s not normal. Podiatrists have similar training and are qualified to diagnose and treat all foot and ankle conditions, but some do more advanced reconstructive surgical procedures with extensive use of screws, plates, and external fixation devices. I do not do that advanced type of surgery, and have not found a great need to do that type of work in my practice. On the infrequent occasions a patient is better served by seeing a podiatric reconstructive surgeon, I refer them to a specialist.
Q: What are the best ways to either prevent initial foot pain, or recurring foot pain?
A: To prevent foot pain it is best to maintain good foot hygiene, avoid restrictive improperly fit shoes, apply lotion to your feet on a regular basis, and maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.
To prevent recurring foot pain you first need to know what is causing the pain. If it is excessive or repetitive motion such as running every day, maybe mixing up activities like swimming or weight lifting along with running would help reduce the strain on the feet. Some pain is difficult to avoid.
Neuropathic pain, pain from an injury that results in a fracture, or chronic pain from severe arthritis or fibromyalgia is very difficult to eliminate. The best we can do is to manage the pain through medications or modalities such as the Cutting Edge MLS cold therapeutic laser.
Q: What would you like our readers to know about you and your practice?
A: I have 23 years of experience in podiatry. I am certified in diabetic wound care and have been the president, vice president, and secretary of the Arizona Podiatric Medical Association during the past 10 years. There aren’t conditions that I haven’t seen or treated. In our Mesa practice, we believe in professional care using a combination of advanced techniques and time-tested procedures delivered with a personal touch. In life as in practice I try to “Walk humbly, Do justice, and Love mercy” Micah 6:8
Q: how can our readers get in contact with you?
A: We have a website evfootcare.com, and Facebook page. They can also call me directly: 480-227-8849